What Pisses Me Off: Valentine’s Day 119

What pisses me off


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I didn’t want to be the Grinch who stole romance last week, but Valentine’s Day really pisses me off!

Now full disclosure time – I have never received a Valentine’s present or eaten in a restaurant on 14 February. To me 14 February is special for only one reason – dear friends have the surname Valentine and I celebrate their love for each other. I do this rather than commemorate the anniversary of the wife’s death.

But back to Valentine’s Day! I first discovered this “day” in novels I read when I was a kid. Anne of Green Gables, What Katy Did, contained references to St Valentine’s Day, note Saint Valentine’s Day. It is/was an American custom to give a card, anonymously, to your loved one, or potential loved one.

Why St Valentine became the patron saint of lovers, engaged couples, bee-keepers, epileptics and travelers, is not clear, even though he is celebrated in Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran liturgy on 14 February. The day first became associated with romantic love within the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

It took the 20th Century to stipulate expensive dinners, huge bunches of flowers and obscenely expensive chocolates were the norm on 14th February. It is a great opportunity to load guilt onto the men and women who don’t wish to participate in this “Hallmark moment” and drop the Saint from the name of the day.

In an office environment, from early morning enormous flower arrangements appear, each delivery seemingly more expensive than its predecessor. The person who doesn’t receive flowers becomes a figure of pity – no-one in your life loves you enough to spend hundreds of dollars on a floral arrangement – just how many hundreds of dollars depends on whether you would like them alive!

Then comes the dinner at, of course, only the best restaurants, where there is a special “lover’s” menu, more expensive than anything they would usually charge. Again full disclosure, I’ve been the restaurant manager who sat down and with the chef and worked on a menu which looked good and gave us maximum profit – people will spend anything on Valentine’s Day.

At a more basic level, I object to being told: “on 14th February, you will show GOM you love him and he will return the gesture.” If I need reminding I love GOM, then there is a deep flaw in our relationship. Should I discount the fact that he waters our garden, which produces beautifully scented roses year round, just because it doesn’t come with an expensive pink bow? Are all the kind and caring gestures he makes throughout the year less valuable because they don’t happen on Valentine’s Day?

To everyone who loves Valentine’s Day, enjoy.

Me? I’ll wait until 15th February and buy the leftover chocolate roses at 50%, or more, off the marked price! I gladly celebrate love, but for me, the cool drink on a hot day speaks volumes; it is far more appreciated than the bunch of flowers, the price of which is comparable to the GDP of a small nation.

Do you agree with Karen?

Karen O'Brien-Hall

I've had many careers in my life and loved each one! My new career blossomed when I retired and become an OAP. I am passionate about childhood literacy, books in general and my garden. I love Ballet, Opera, Concerts, Theatre, (both professional and community) and Movies. I tend to have opinions on most things and enjoy a good debate about the topic, not the person. In my thirties, I married my GOM (Gorgeous or Grumpy Old Man) the love of my life.

  1. Absolutely! !!!! I would rather my partner bought me flowers on any other day “just because”; or bought me something because he “was passing and thought I’d like it”; or take me out to dinner because we can’t be bothered cooking. And just to be ornery, we make as sure NOT to say I love you on Feb 14 as we make sure we do the other 364 days. Compulsory shows of affection. Bah, humbug

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  2. Mike here-never needed Hallmark to tell me when to love my wife, same as Mother$ day. Used to go to church on Mothering Sunday,the priest would give all the kids a chysanthemum which had been blessed which we then gave to Mother. No new washing machines or new cars, just the flower which our Mother cherished

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    • That’s the way Mike, I;ve never heard of that happening, but think it is a very special way of acknowledging our Mothers.

    • Mike here-that was the Mothering Sunday way in our church when I was young in the UK & at St. Theodores. Cof E., in Elizabeth South, ruled over by the Reverend Howell Witt who later became the Bishop of Geraldton in WA. Then shortly before his death the Bishop of Bathurst

  3. Bought my own beautiful flowers at my local market – still in bloom – way cheaper than the shops were asking. Such a commercialised day. But hey it makes lots of people feel special good luck to them

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  4. Never celbrated Valentines Day in my time. I worked at an office once where I guarantee the three women I worked with ordered their own flowers delivered to the office just to make me feel bad because I am divorced.

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    • I often wondered Dawn if they ordered, and paid for, their own floral tributes! When I said I didn’t participate in Valentine’s Day, they sent me looks of pity. This year, sales may have been down because VD was on Sunday – surely no office displays on the Friday?

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